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US squandered opportunities to squash COVID-19

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-09-05 18:02

Lila Blanks holds the casket of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ahead of his funeral in San Felipe, Texas, US, January 26, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The United States has reported more than 39 million COVID-19 cases and more than 630,000 deaths -- ranking first in the world in both categories, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

The US also performed extremely poorly on a range of measures that show the severity of the pandemic proportionally, including the number of deaths per million people, the death rate of COVID-19 patients, and the positive rate of COVID-19 tests.

How did the US become such a failed country in the fight against COVID-19?

Wasting every opportunity to contain COVID-19 outbreak

"Despite ample warning, the US squandered every possible opportunity to control the coronavirus", said an article titled "How the pandemic is killing America" by the US magazine The Atlantic in September 2020.

From Jan 3 to Feb 3, 2020, China had briefed the US on the epidemic information and control measures in China for 30 times, including sharing with US CDC project manager in China information about China's diagnosis and treatment guidelines, prevention and control guidelines, and the linkage of the novel coronavirus database that China shares with the world in real time.

In the early days of the pandemic, Trump's administration repeatedly ignored warnings about the outbreak and tried to downplay the risk, missing the best window period for effective measures. In fact, key breakdowns happened with Trump ignoring warnings:

-- In early January 2020, the National Security Council received reports from epidemiologists of the State Department and the National Center for Medical Intelligence of the Defense Intelligence Agency, respectively, predicting that COVID-19 would spread to the US and could develop into a "global pandemic";

-- On Jan 18 and 30, 2020, then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar called president Trump twice to brief him on the potential severity of the outbreak;

-- On Jan 29, 2020, Peter Navarro, then director of the White House Office of National Trade and Manufacturing Policy, submitted a memo warning that the outbreak could kill as many as 500,000 people and cause trillions of dollars in economic losses...

According to a model analysis by disease researchers at Columbia University, 54,000 lives could have been saved by May 3, 2020 if the government's epidemic control measures announced on March 13 could have been made two weeks earlier.

The bodies of the more than 600,000 Americans killed by the disease were enough to pile up in mountains. "It's a slaughter", said William Foege, an American epidemiologist and former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Older people, already at greater risk from the pandemic, have been ruthlessly marginalized by the chaotic epidemic control system in the US.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said repeatedly in an interview with FoxNews.com in April 2020 that he would rather die than see public health measures hurt the US economy, saying, "grandparents are willing to die to save the economy for their grandkids."

Lie to people and suppression of scientists

Facing the fast-spreading epidemic, the US government not only ignored various warnings, but focused on controlling the spread of information and even issued false information to mislead the public.

At the beginning of the crisis, Trump called COVID-19 the "flu". He further fumbled on verbally saying that soon there will be a "flu vaccine against it" and imaging the COVID-19 pandemic would "suddenly disappear" with the warming of the weather in April.

After the first outbreak, Trump began to promote high-risk "anti- COVID-19 magic medicine". On March 21, he announced on Twitter that hydroxychloroquine has potential benefits against COVID-19. However, on April 24, the FDA warned that hydroxychloroquine might cause serious side effects.

To use the pandemic as an excuse for political purposes, the US government has suppressed scientists and professional opinions.

Doctor Anthony Fauci, known as America's "anti-pandemic captain," was suppressed for criticizing Trump for repeatedly refusing to implement early social quarantine measures, missing the opportunity to fight the pandemic.

The New York Times reported that senior White House officials pressured the intelligence community to link the COVID-19 virus to the Wuhan virus institute.

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